Legal issues about book translation - need help
Thread poster: MrUnknown
MrUnknown
Turkey
Local time: 16:51
English to Turkish
+ ...
Apr 8, 2009

Hello everyone!

I have the following question. Recently i have encountered a book which i believe would be a big success if translated to native language of my country. The book is originally written in English language. What i wonder is as follows. I would like to know what are the ways that i can get some percentage from sales of this book translated to the native language. Say i contact the author/publisher of the book and he accepts my offer to translate it into my language and publish it here. Finding a publisher for this book will not be a problem. But, can i ask for some % from the sales of this book in my country, or will the author only pay me for its translation and will get some % of the profit along with the local publisher (copyright thing i believe)? What i presume is that since it will be an additional income for the author why not let me get some % for the work i put in it.

Could you please tell me how these things actually work?

Thank you very much for your help!

MrUnknown

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-04-08 19:43 GMT]


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Chris Lovelace  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 10:51
Russian to English
+ ...
No problem, as long as you put it in the contract Apr 8, 2009

As long as you have the copyright holder's written permission in your contract to get a specific percentage of the sales, this is absolutely no problem.

You will need to stipulate in the contract who pays for the publication in the translated language. I think it would also be wise for you to discuss with the copyright holder how the sales income is computed. That is, does the income get tallied before or after distribution and other costs are factored in? Or, do you expect a cut from GROSS INCOME from sales? The difference will drastically impact how much money you make.


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freelance522  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 21:51
English to Chinese
+ ...
Case by case Apr 9, 2009

I have book translation experience. In my country, it is usually the publisher who contacts the book contract dealer or agency. As far as I know, many western publishers usually have an agency to handle the copyright issue. If anyone from another country is interested in some book, he/she usually should contact the original publisher and the copyright agency. They would negotiate the price for buying the copyright.

Also, the agency usually sells the copyright to a foreign publisher but not a person. The foreign publisher will find a translator to translate the book, and they generally only pay the translation fee. But there are also some translators who request to share x% profit from the sales and they receive a contract with this requirement.
So, it depends on which publisher you work with.

I am not sure how things work in your country. If the copyright of the book that you are interested is handled by a copyright agency, then you have to pay money to buy the copyright. You have to find a publisher that will be willing to publish the book. And you can negotiate with the publisher how to share the profits.
Or you can recommend this book to your local publishers, and have one of them handle the copyright issue. If they think this book will be a great success, they will pay the copyright fee. If you ask to share the sales profit, the publisher usually doesn't pay you the translation fee. Which means, you can only choose one: either earn the translation fee and have no right to claim the sales profits; or earn money from the sales profits--if the sales are good, then you earn more.

Hope the above information is of some assistance to you.

[Edited at 2009-04-10 06:05 GMT]


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MrUnknown
Turkey
Local time: 16:51
English to Turkish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Apr 9, 2009

Thank you, Chris and freelance522, for your help on this matter! I will try to find a local publisher who would be interested in the book and discuss the offer with him as the first thing to do.

Could you please indicate your own experience with book translation. How did it work out for you and which one did you prefer: translation fee or % from the sales. If % from the sales, how much % did you bargain for?

Thank you once for the helpful information you have provided!

MrUnknown


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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
almost easy Apr 9, 2009

Just contact the Publisher (see the credentials) and negotiate the royalties, dead-lines and proof-reading etc for the job done. Usually they do some market research/ intelligence and say their yes-no answer.

It's a pity but it isn't so easy task and I doubt whether it can make you very rich.
May be but a little famous

Cheers

[Редактировалось 2009-04-09 09:54 GMT]


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freelance522  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 21:51
English to Chinese
+ ...
Still case by case Apr 10, 2009

The publishers who worked with me did not offer the profit sharing option to me. So I cannot provide any further information about this issue. And not many translators can get this offer; they also didn't reveal how big of a % they got themselves.
But I am guessing, if the book you recommend is a great hit in sales, then asking for a contract with profit sharing should be better than the contract with only a translation fee.
Good luck!


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